President Joe Biden declared on Monday night that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda, was killed over the weekend in a drone attack as part of a counterterrorism operation by the United States. The president said that al-Zawahiri was killed in Kabul.
"He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests," President Biden said in his brief remarks from the White House balcony. "Now, justice has been delivered. And this terrorist leader is no more."
"After relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year," Biden added. "He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family."
The U.S. government had multiple, independent sources confirming al-Zawahiri's whereabouts at a safe house, a senior administration official told reporters on a call Monday evening.
The strike was the end result of months and years of thorough, diligent, and relentless work by counterterrorism officials.
"None of his family members were hurt and there were no civilian casualties," the president said. The U.S. government has a high level of confidence that no one else was killed in the strike, according to the reports.
The president reportedly received frequent updates as the US authorities focused on al-Zawahiri. The president was interested in learning more about the layout of the safehouse's doors and windows once it was discovered in order to prevent more casualties.
The president approved an air attack that would reduce civilian casualties as much as possible in a meeting on July 25.
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